One of the reasons we don’t get to use electronics that can bend and stretch according to the need is because batteries that can power such devices should be stretchable too. While stretchable batteries are not a new concept, most of the research done on the same led to batteries that have reduced flexibility and cannot stretch as much as the user might want it to. Solving the problems a team of researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have come up with a one-of-its-kind stretchable battery that can stretch to 300 percent its original size and still work for eight to nine hours before it needs to be recharged, something which can be done wirelessly.
The battery, which enables true integration to electronics and power into a small and flexible package, comes with battery components laid side by side in a very small space and connected with tightly packed, long wavy lines. These are wires which provide the needed flexibility and when stretched, the wavy lines unfurl, much like yarn unspooling. While the power and storage capacity of the battery is similar to a conventional lithium-ion battery of the same size, the new battery can stretch and hence opens doors for an entirely new breed of electronic devices.
The stretching process is reversible and the interconnecting wires get back to their normal size when the stretching process is reversed. Moreover, the battery’s design allows for the integration of stretchable inductive coils that enable wireless charging through an external source. The team also found out that the battery is capable of 20 cycles of recharging with little loss in capacity.